St. Thomas' first football game as a Division I team will likely have to wait.
The Tommies announced Thursday that their football opener against St. Francis (Ill.), scheduled for Sept. 4, has been canceled because of COVID-19 protocols.
The COVID issue is on St. Francis' end, according to sources at each school.
The Tommies, who are making the jump from Division III to Division I, are "searching for a replacement opponent to play at O'Shaughnessy Stadium on Sept. 4, or on a date later in the season," the St. Thomas news release said.
"Our players and coaches have a 100 percent vaccination rate as a team," said St. Thomas athletic director Phil Esten, according to the news release. "They continue to do everything they can to prepare and put themselves in a position to have a successful fall season. Coach Glenn Caruso continues stressing the importance of remaining physically and mentally ready to compete."
St. Francis, an NAIA school, issued a short news release, which added that the game with St. Thomas will not be rescheduled.
Finding a replacement game for Sept. 4 will be difficult for the Tommies this close to the start of the season. Their next scheduled game is Sept. 11 at Michigan Tech, followed by a trip to Northern Iowa on Sept. 18.
Their next home game, and their Pioneer League debut, is scheduled for Sept. 25 against Butler.